A Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technique May Be Able to Cause Vascular Recellularization

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the few imaging modalities with the potential for in vitro, preclinical, and clinical applications. The most vital benefit of MRI is its ability to provide anatomical, functional, and cellular information. It also offers unmatched soft-tissue contrast, imaging penetration, safety, and more.

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Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an MRI technique, may probe tissue microstructure. DTI  is sensitive to changes in the underlying microstructure.

Over 50 years, interest in tissue engineering, and small-diameter (6 mm) vascular grafts has consistently grown.

Vascular tissue engineering seems to be a workable method for treating small artery vascular disease, bypassing aneurysms and occlusions, or even for hemodialysis. Tissue-engineered vascular grafts (TEVG) may be the solution when there aren’t any good autologous grafts, which are scarce, or synthetic materials aren’t an option.

The effects of DTI-derived metrics have been demonstrated in a new study online.

A strong association between DTI-derived measures and vascular recellularization is present in a novel study

Although tissue engineering has advanced significantly over the past few years, there are currently no non-invasive, non-destructive ways to assess graft recellularization. The new study used DTI, a single MRI technique, to assess recellularization in vascular grafts. The research was for decellularized pig carotids over a two-week culture period.

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In this study, two distinct designed vascular grafts were examined by DTI to non-invasively track cell infiltration and proliferation during a two-week culture period to promote recellularization.

Day 3, Day 7, and Day 14 marked the terminal time points in the research. At each time point, grafts were fixed and examined by DTI in an ex vivo setting. The researchers also did a semi-quantitative histology study to check cell density and changes in collagen and elastin throughout time.

The DTI-derived metrics distinguished between acellular and recellularized grafts. In addition, there was a significant difference between day three and day seven grafts.

The capacity to monitor recellularization would provide for non-destructive, non-terminal time points that could guide experimental planning. It also determines the number of cells repopulating and the quality of recellularized microstructure. MRI is a secure, non-ionizing imaging technique that may impact preclinical experimental planning by lowering sample requirements and omitting early terminal time points.

The findings of this study demonstrated for the first time the capability of DTI-metrics to monitor recellularization in vascular grafts. Additionally, these measurements can distinguish between acellular and recellularized grafts. The study’s findings demonstrate the viability of DTI for application in tissue engineering and highlight the technique’s great potential for precise non-invasive, and non-destructive assessment of TEVGs.

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Clinical significance

The groundbreaking results of this work demonstrate the fascinating and revolutionary potential of DTI in tissue engineering. A substantial clinical benefit of DTI is its capacity to provide directional information on the underlying microstructure. The information provided is very relevant in cardiac and cartilaginous tissues.


Characterization of tissue engineering that is beneficial and non-destructive is a crucial objective in therapeutic practice. Thanks to DTI’s potential to provide non-destructive information into graft recellularization, further studies can be carried out in tissue engineering.


Exploring DTI-derived metrics to non-invasively track recellularization in vascular tissue engineering



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